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Elysia Tsai's picture

Keep Youth Soccer Safe by Filling Out the Necessary Paperwork

Any well planned sports program has a stack of paperwork for you to fill out. The most important information you fully complete should be the medical history and consent packet. School and athletic programs require pre-participation physicals for good reason. These help rule out any pre-existing injuries or conditions that may be problematic once the players begins sports.

The goal of these physicals is not to find ways to keep your child exempt from participation, but to let the medical and school staff know of any conditions. I’ve seen physical exams find abnormal heart conditions that could have been fatal should the athlete participate. And I’ve seen exams find knee pain related to unsupported arches in the feet that was quickly corrected. The physical exams are present to help protect the athlete. 

Some exams are quite extensive, for example FIFA requires an EKG, Echocardiogram, specific joint measurements and orthopedic ligament exams and flexibility testing. Other tests or information required include immunization records, blood labs, baseline Impact testing for concussions, current conditions, past surgeries, family history, eye exams and fitness testing.

At the start of each US Soccer camp, I take out each player’s medical packet. I look through each page and document past injuries, surgeries, dental implants, contact lenses, current medications and allergies.  I keep a master list of this information handy should I need it. When an injury occurs and I have to accompany a player to the doctor or emergency room, detailed physical forms, insurance information and parental consents create a smooth process. I’ve also had situations where information was missing or not easy to obtain and it made providing care very difficult.

As a parent, you trust the school/club/organization’s athletic training staff, nurses, team physicians, coaches and all other support staff with the safety of your child. You may not be present when and injury occurs and the ambulance and emergency room are needed. Providing detailed information and consents is vital.

Here are some key things to remember when filling out paperwork:

  • Write clearly and make sure all copies can be read. Sometimes faxes, scans and copies get distorted.
  • Double check that the organization has receive all the necessary paperwork.
  • Clearly detail your contact information and emergency information. This is especially important for minors and traveling out of the state or country.
  • Make sure you sign, date and notarize (if needed) the “parental consent to treat” if your child is a minor. Without this paperwork, the doctors and hospitals do not have your consent to treat your child.
  • Provide a copy of the front and back of your/child’s insurance card and detail the insurance information. This issue becomes very important for hospital emergency rooms and doctor visits. They want to know the name of the insurance, ppo or hmo, group numbers, contact information, birthdates and social security numbers. 
  • List past injuries and surgeries in detail. Describe the nature of the injury, the side of the body (left or right) and the date. If you answer “yes” to any history question, detail why the answer is yes.
  • Detail any allergies to foods, animals, grasses, medications and over-the-counter medications.
  • Detail current medication, vitamins and supplements. This is extremely important when being considered for drug testing and getting medical clearances for certain prescription medications.
  • Most importantly, update the medical information and inform the staff of any updates. Sometimes allergies develop or a player is on a short term of antibiotics that isn’t previously documented.  Should an emergency situation occur, the care from an EMT, paramedic or emergency room is dictated by the medical history. If a new allergy or medication hasn’t been documented there may be adverse reactions or the wrong type of care provided.

I know this information can seem redundant or too obtrusive, but in the long run it makes for better care of your child. If the medical staff has a greater understanding of past injuries, medications and allergies, we can provide better treatment and emergency care if needed. 

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